Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Spring Hill Welcomes Saturn, but Hates to Forfeit Intimacy

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Spring Hill Welcomes Saturn, but Hates to Forfeit Intimacy

Article excerpt

SPRING HILL, Tenn. - The jobs that General Motors' coveted Saturn plant would bring are welcome, but some Spring Hill residents said Fr iday they hate to forfeit the intimacy of their small town, where the main industry once dealt in another mode of transport - mules.

""Property already is ... beginning to rise sharply,'' said Mayor George Jones. ""A lot of options are being taken and some properties are being bought. It'll drive up the economy considerably.''

But while the small-car plant would bring new jobs and industry, some residents said they objected to what else they expect would accompany it.

""It's a great opportunity, but it will end the rural atmosphere. I don't want to see a Wendy's on every corner and a four-lane highway through town,'' said Louise Mallory-Elliott, a Tennessee State University psychology teacher who said she'll move if the Saturn plant comes to town.

U.S. Sens. Albert Gore Jr. and James Sasser, both Tennessee Democrats, on Friday confirmed earlier reports that GM has chosen Spring Hill, a town of 1,110 people 30 miles south of Nashville, for the Saturn plant.

""We won. It's a great day for Maury County, for Tennessee and for the country,'' Gore said.

""The 16,000 direct and related jobs that Saturn brings is really only the tip of the iceburg,'' Sasser said.

The plant, part of a $5 billion project designed to cut into the import market, surely would change the complexion of this community, which, Jones said, ""in the '20s and '30s was known as the mulecapital of the world.''

The area still holds an annual Mule Day celebration to commemorate the industry that reached its heyday in the 1930s, when Spring Hill had the country's largest mule trade auction.

""In the last five years, farm land has brought from $3,000 to $5,000 an acre. Right now farm land is going for quite a bit more because of this. Some land is going for 30 percent more,'' said the mayor. GM's final announcement is expected within a few days.

The gentle rolling farm land reportedly optioned for the site is just outside city limits. …

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